Friday, July 24, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Henderson takes gold

Leader sports editor

On Wednesday in Toronto, McAlmont’s Jeff Henderson became the first American to win the Pan Am Games long jump since Carl Lewis did it in 1987. Henderson qualified first on Tuesday, jumping just over 27 feet. The six-jump final round was all but over after Henderson’s first jump on Wednesday.

Henderson leapt a +4.1 m/s wind-aided 8.54 meters, which is 28-feet, 1/4-inch. That’s a fraction of an inch from being two feet farther than anyone else jumped in the qualifying round on Tuesday.

Henderson already had the two longest legal jumps of the year at 8.50 meters. By going farther than that with his first jump on Wednesday, it left the rest of the field with a major uphill battle.

He closed the competition with a wind-legal jump of 8.52 meters (27-feet, 11-7/16-inches), which now gives him the three longest legal jumps in the world this year.

Despite the phenomenal first jump, Henderson wouldn’t say he felt he had it won.

“I knew my first jump would be far, but I didn’t expect it to be that far,” Henderson told The Leader on Thursday.

Next up is the USATF World Championships in Beijing, where Henderson will again be among the favorites.